Oakley's goggle lens technology is built upon decades of research and testing. The company consistently monitors production in all of their facilities and tests components to ensure that the products meet their high standards. These guys aren't trying to make short cuts; we at Jans respect and appreciate this.
Protection: a first priority
All of Oakley's lenses are made of Plutonite, a durable and optically pure lens material that blocks 100% of ultraviolet rays (which are the ones that damage your eyes). The material is tested under extreme circumstances to withstand high mass and high velocity impact, and it delivers protection beyond what is necessary for actual wear.
Oakley's lens designs meet or exceed the eyewear industry standards set by the American National Standards Institute, passing tests that measure visual sharpness, distortion, and locational accuracy. Oakley's High Definition Optics help you see important details, like variations in the snowscape, to help you stay safe and better enjoy your day on the slopes.
Glare: cut it out
Even with full protection from ultraviolet rays, you'll still have to squint in the face of glare from the visible part of the sun's wave spectrum - unless your lenses have high quality polarization like Oakley's. If you dislike learning about science, skip the next couple paragraphs and just trust that Oakley polarized lenses are a good way to go.
Light waves oscillate in multiple directions, and it is the reflections from horizontal surfaces (like the snow you're skiing on) that most often causes eye-straining glare. In polarized optical lenses, a microscopic filter absorbs any light that doesn't match its alignment, thereby only allowing vertical light waves to come through. This way you can still see, but you aren't straining your eyes against glare.
You can witness this fun science in action by slowly tilting your head to the right or left while wearing your polarized goggles or polarized sunglasses; you should notice a change in the apparent brightness of what you're looking at.
Some polarization technology involves multi-layer lens designs with glues and films that can distort your vision. Oakley's HDPolarized Technology, however, employs a precise infusion molding process to produce one comprehensive single-layer lens, resulting in clearer vision.
Lens fogging: a thing of the past
For many skiers and snowboarders who have worn lesser quality goggles, fogging is a super big, frustrating hassle. Oakley's goggles include a combination of passive ventilation, moisture-wicking face foam, and anti-fog coating technologies to make lens fogging something you don't have to worry about anymore. Enjoy!
Color science technology: for optimized clarity
Oakley is seriously passionate about their color science; it's probably the coolest area they've been making big advances in recently. For the best in color accuracy, look for their lenses that feature Iridium and/or PRIZM technology.
Iridium lenses have a mirrored coating that balances light transmission to help maintain accurate color recognition. Plus, they're really great for your ski buddies to check their reflections in while adjusting their neck gaiters on the lift.
Sport-specific PRIZM lenses offer what Oakley describes as unprecedented control of light transmission for precisely tuned colors to 'dramatically enhance contrast and visibility.' Exciting stuff, right? The PRIZM lenses perform over a wider range of light conditions to reduce the need to change your lenses as the day and the weather progress.
Lens colors and tints: different properties for different conditions
Speaking of changing lenses, Oakley's Switch-Lock technology actually makes doing so pretty painless. The design allows you to unlock one lens, take it out, put in another, and lock it securely into place - it's quick and simple.
But why bother changing lenses anyway? Different lenses allow different amounts of visual light transmission (VLT). The ability to switch at any time allows you to customize your goggles based on the conditions of the moment.
Imagine a day when it's snowy and cloudy in the morning, and then later in the afternoon the sky clears up to reveal a dazzling sun. If you approached that day with only a dark, sunny-day lens, you'd be doing great in the sunny afternoon weather, but wouldn't be able to see much in the cloudy conditions of the morning. Conversely, if you showed up with only a lighter lens, you'd be able to see the contours of the snow really well in the low light conditions of the morning, but things would look really bright and unclear, like an overexposed photograph, in the sunny afternoon conditions.
Between dusk and dawn, you probably want a clear lens, providing protection from cold, wind, snow, and impact, without blocking any precious moonlight.
In heavily overcast, foggy, snowy conditions, snap in a light lens such as the Hi Intensity Yellow (81% VLT) or the Persimmon (62% VLT).
On a partly cloudy day, a VR28 lens (28% VLT) can be a good happy medium. Or a Rose PRIZM lens can take you from snowy/foggy to partly sunny, making it a good choice if the weather is expected to vary.
A Jade Iridium, Sapphire Iridium, or Torch Iridium PRIZM lens is nice for days when the weather varies from sunny to overcast.
And the Black Iridium is designed for bright sun to partly cloudy conditions.
If you're still hungry for more Oakley lens knowledge, you can find detailed information in our Oakley goggles product descriptions.
Kendall Fischer, Content Writer